CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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The Right Word

Yesterday — August 26, 2016 (permalink)

Did nobody tell the LSAT writers, who "always use the literal (or dictionary) meaning of a word," that the word set alone famously has over 460 definitions?
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August 15, 2016 (permalink)

A whole constellation of asterisks from "The Land of the Whopper" by Elizabeth Frazer, in The Saturday Evening Post, 1920.
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August 12, 2016 (permalink)

"Eggspatiation," circa 1890.
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August 11, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of being "safe as houses," but here's someone "sane as a house," which is a Googlewhack.  From "My Wife's Wedding Presents" by Owen Johnson, in Pearson's, 1910.
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August 9, 2016 (permalink)

The phrase "blink blank haberdasher" is a Googlewhack.  From Pearson's, 1908.
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August 8, 2016 (permalink)

They just don't write metaphors this way anymore: "Metaphorically, Hubbard sat up and took notice."  From Pearson's, 1904.
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August 7, 2016 (permalink)

Referencing the Double Dutch Dictionary, from Judy, Or The London Serio-Comic Journal, 1880.
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Here's just a sampling of all 264 blank pages that Flickr displays for the book Atlas Ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néêrlandaises, 1862.  Perversely, not a single one of the beautiful color illustrations from the book was scanned.  To be clear, blank pages (most all of which are labeled as such, technically rendering them non-blank in the process) are the only pages from this book that the Internet Archive uploaded to Flickr.  We're merely trying to find some inadvertent visual poetry in the void.
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August 5, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard a mouth called a "pie hole," and this guy's hands are "breadhooks."  From Pearson's, 1908.
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The Oozlefinch, mascot of the Coast Artillery, Fort Monroe, Virginia.  "This bird flies backwards in order to keep the dust out of his eyes, and he is so bashful that when he sees someone — he swallows himself!"
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August 2, 2016 (permalink)

Here's Allen T. Chesebro's collection of 25 words that all spell Chesebro.  From an old postcard, date unspecified.
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From A la Gloire by Aristide Job Fabre, 1913.
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July 28, 2016 (permalink)

The Comic Language of Flowers
Peppermint — Warmth of feeling.
White Chrysanthemum — Truth.
Cosmelia rubra — The charm of a blush.
Larkspur — Lightness.
Maidenblush Rose — If you love me you will find it out.
Mallow — Mildness.
Indian Jasmin — I attach myself to you.
[From Judy, Or The London Serio-Comic Journal, 1882.]
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July 25, 2016 (permalink)

"I knew I could dood it."  From Carolina Magazine, 1942.
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July 21, 2016 (permalink)

To this day, this is the only known reference to the "Krikketekrakkle."  "There was once a king who was a deuce of a king, and he was afraid of nothing in the wide world by a Krikketekrakkle."  From Judy, Or The London Serio-Comic Journal, 1878.
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July 19, 2016 (permalink)

"He feeds on generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen and paté de foie gras."  From Fortnightly Philistine, 1900.
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July 9, 2016 (permalink)

He has packed up his adjectives.  From Fun magazine, 1885.  Here's a list of Scots adjectives.
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July 7, 2016 (permalink)

"And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill."  From A Practical Grammar by Stephen Watkins Clark, 1847.
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July 2, 2016 (permalink)

My wish for you today: may you never be prescribed an injection with the word "crypt" in it.
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July 1, 2016 (permalink)

From The War Cry, 1920.
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